I started composing the following posting when I returned to Wiesbaden 2 Jan 2010 from my Christmas break in Seattle. I did not get to finish it for some reason or another. I figured I would finish it by adding the last couple of pictures, and then post. I know it's a bit late, but here it is anyway.
Happy New Year to everyone. I hope 2010 brings happiness, prosperity, and good times to all.
I made it back to Wiesbaden Saturday morning, 2 January 2010. It is colder than sh*t. The low temperatures are in the low to mid 20's degrees F. I caught a bit of a cold and a cough during my last few days in Seattle. With all the traveling, the neck strain, and fatigue the last 3 weeks, it is nice to be back in Wiesbaden. As soon I got in my apartment, I turned on the heat. After about 30 minutes, I was in the midst of a restful six hour nap. I woke up at 5PM, but because it's already dark at that time, I thought it was 5AM.
I have about 6 weeks left in Germany. It will definitely be a very busy six week period - work, preparation to ship my household items and vehicle to Seattle, moving out of my apartment, moving into a hotel, and taking advantage of my last days in Germany with weekend traveling.
2009 was a good year full of activities. Lots of traveling both personal and work-related. During 2009, I visited the following places:
Barcelona in January 09 - A friend and I went to Barcelona for an extended weekend break during the MLK holiday. The pictures are taken in front of a Spanish Civil War fortress/museum, and in front of Palau de la Musica. The third picture is with co-workers that we met up with.
Bologna and San Marino in February '09 - A friend and I took an extended weekend break during the President's Day holiday. First picture is in Bologna and the second picture is up in the mountains of San Marino.
Sigonella, Sicily, Italy in February '09 - went there for work related business; before our flight back to Germany, we went out early in the morning driving up Mt. Etna.
Alexandria, VA; Washington, DC; and Durham, NC in late April thru early May '09 - I took a security engineering course in Alexandria for a week. I arrived there the weekend before. I had a chance to see the sights of Alexandria and DC. I visited a friend who lives a couple of block from the White House. I also took a day trip and visited a friend in Goldsboro, NC. The first picture is from one of DC's Metro stop. The second is at a bar in Goldsboro.
Seattle in early May '09 - after the training in Alexandria, I visited Seattle for four days before heading back to Frankfurt. I was able to attend a 18th birthday party for a cousin's daughter and hosted a family party at the house. The first picture is with my great nephew Nathan at the birthday party, and the next photos are from the family party at the house.
Paris, Lourdes, Barcelona, Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Munich, Cologne and other locations near Wiesbaden in June '09 - My two sisters and a family friend visited me in Wiesbaden. We traveled mainly by train, but we also took a long drive to Ingolstadt and Munich from Wiesbaden using my MiniCooper.
Seattle in late June thru early July '09 - Visited Seattle for a week and a half to attend family camping, Jayan's christening, Bainbridge Island's Rotary Auction, and get my front yard renovated. The first group of pictures are from camping. The last two pictures are from Jayan's christening.
Lajes, the Azores, in August '09 - I traveled to Lajes for work. I was able to enjoy the good weather and seafood during the 4 day trip there.
Seattle in early September '09 - I had promised my niece that I would be there for her wedding. In early Sep, during the Labor Day weekend, I went to Seattle for a quick visit to attend Grace & Jason's wedding.
Munich's Octoberfest, early October '09 - After the end of fiscal year, 1 Oct 09, I joined up with friends from work to attend my third consecutive attendance to Munich's Octoberfest. I stuck around for the remainder of the weekend to explore more of Munich. The first picture is of the group I was with for the festivities. The second picture is inside the Hippodrom fest tent with a friend from work. The third picture is inside the Hofbrau fest tent.
Florence, Italy in October '09 - During the Columbus Day weekend, a friend and I visited Florence (first picture) with a day trip to Pisa (second picture), San Gimignano (third picture), Siena (fourth picture), and Tuscan countryside.
Plzen, Czech Republic in October '09 - A week later, four of us from work on a Friday evening, while at the bar at our workplace (yes, there was one; it is now closed) hatched up a plan to visit Plzen, Czech Republic, the birthplace of pils beer, for the weekend. First picture is outside Pilsner Urquell Brewery, and the second is during a tour of the brewery with co-workers.
Athens in early November '09 - Again taking advantage of a long holiday weekend encompassing Veteran's Day, a friend and I visited Athens with side trips to Piraeus and the island of Hydra.
Luxembourg City in late November '09 - On Thanksgiving weekend, I drove to Luxembourg City and spent the entire day there exploring the city center.
German Christmas Markets, December '09 - Knowing this was going to be my last Christmas holiday period in Germany, I spent some time visiting Christmas markets in Cologne, Frankfurt, Bingen, and spent a lot of evenings visiting Wiesbaden's Christmas market which is a short walk from my apartment.
Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, Philippines in early December '09 - I went back to Seattle for Christmas vacation. I spent two days in Seattle before proceeding to the Philippines for a week.
Seattle in late December 09 - I was back in Seattle in time for Christmas and New Year. First picture is with the Lessard, Fukeda, and Dosono kids, my great nephews and nieces, at Sonya & Steve's house on Christmas Eve. The next pictures are during Christmas party at the house. The last two pictures - toasting the New Year with sparkling apple cranberry juice.
Portland in late December '09 - A post-Christmas day trip to Portland.
There were also weekend trips and work-related trips all over Germany, including Stuttgart, Cologne, Amberg, Bamberg, Ansbach, Rothenburg, Nuernberg, and St. Goar. All in all, it was a great year. You probably heard all my whining about the workload, but looking back I had more than my fair share of time off from work.